I finally got into an informal mail swap, although I’m having difficulty registering myself for it. Still, I have mailed some cards to people already listed, and received two in return.
The past week or so have been too busy to do much with cards, but I keep my hands busy (when I’m not knitting) doing Zentangles. I’m feeling really stuck on these, like they’re beginning to look pretty much the same. I need to do something different: cards in a different medium, or go in a completely different direction–I’m thinking mandalas.
Even during the wrap-up to the kids’ vacation, during which both grandchildren stayed with us, I got a few cards done. I’m trying to get onto a mail art exchange but I’m having difficulty–I’ll keep trying. I will swap with anyone, anywhere in the world. If you’d like to receive a card, send your mailing address to firstname.lastname@example.org
Here are my end-of-summer efforts:
Although it’s doubtful I’m in compliance with the rules of Zentangling, I find it both calming and satisfying. Not so much the black-and-white drawing, because it’s hard for me to come up with new ways to move the pen, but I enjoy the color part: selecting color combinations and then feeling the flow of the ink. I loved coloring books as kid; this lets me indulge in that childhood pleasure.
Next, I think I’m ready to try scaling them up to postcard size.
There is a golf term called “the yips,” but I think it applies to anything that requires steady hands. Basically, when it’s most important to have muscle control, the muscles, or the brain, don’t cooperate and you twitch. There have been studies of the neurology behind it, and I won’t go into it, but suffice it to say I’ve suffered from my own version of the yips, especially with a permanent marker in my hand. I’ll have a beautiful curve flowing across the page and–urp–a tiny jerk spoils the line.
Through a chance encounter with someone who teaches it, I learned about Zentangles. Once again I won’t go into detail because you can follow the link if you’re interested. When I looked into it, I loved the images and the idea of a meditative sort of doodling. I’m a big doodler anyway, so I decided to try it. There are certain standards and parameters, and I doubt if I’m following them strictly, but it doesn’t matter. Once I have some black lines down I can’t resist coloring them, and that’s what is the most fun for me. Since the drawings are small (3.5 inches square) and I do them strictly for exercise, there’s no pressure and fewer hiccups, and if they do occur they’re incorporated into the drawing.
The other thing that I’ve found interesting about both Zentangles and my whole mail art obsession is the power of having a boundary. A big canvas is really hard to get started on, but a 4×6 postcard is a nice little space to fill, and if you don’t like it you don’t have to gesso over it.
I have been drawing and coloring Zentangles to stay loose. I am far from accomplished, but these are a good start on my new meditative art practice.